Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week #28 John 3:16 "I Am Valuable"

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

This was probably one of the first bible verses I learned after becoming a Christian many years ago.  It is famous.  It is well-known. So well-known that maybe we have taken it for granted?

When this particular verse popped up (on a verse-a-day website) as my next blogging topic, it gave me the opportunity to ponder this verse anew.

So, what "new" insight have I been given?  Nothing new, but here is what perspective I have been pondering.

I have zero-ed in on the word "gave."  God gave.  God gave to the world.  God gave His Son.  God gave out of love.  God gave to whoever believes in Him.  God gave so that we could have eternal life.

Wow...that's a LOT of giving.

Most of the time, I am very aware (and thankful) for what I have been given.  I have been given a wonderful husband and family.  I have been given a comfortable life, with privileges and blessings not available to many others around the globe.

I have been given resources and skills that can benefit my family, church and community.  I have been given interests, personality traits and silly quirks within that personality that occasionally amuse others, keep life interesting and can be used for God's glory.

But there are times in my life when I don't feel so blessed.  There are times when I look in the mirror and wonder why I wasn't given the gift of a flawless complexion.  Sometimes I watch other actors on stage and wonder why I wasn't given the level of talent they have.  I often wonder why I wasn't given the personality of an out-going, personable charmer, instead of my introverted, melancholy spirit.

So, when I heard the word "gave" and pondered it in my heart, I was moved.  I know that life isn't fair.  Some are born with more physical beauty and talents than others.  Some live in relative wealth while others live in poverty.  Some have radiant, attractive personalities, and others have personalities that are harder to appreciate.

But there is one thing we have ALL been given.  Jesus.

God isn't a stingy deity spending His days plotting to bring us deprivation.  God is a generous, giving Father who longs to bless us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  And on top of that, He gave us the most precious gift He could ever give us:  His Son.  Anyone who's ever raised a son (or a daughter) would understand how precious and valuable that is.

Sure, there will still be days when I feel "deprived" and indulge in a self-pity party.  Life has a way of doing that to us.

But God gave me His most valuable and sacrificial possession possible.  That means I am loved.  It means I am also valuable to Him.  It means I count.

The reflection in the mirror doesn't make me valuable, nor will my acting ability on stage, my "wealth" or my personality.  God makes me valuable.  I am the recipient of a most valuable gift.  John 3:16 tells me so.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Week #27 Hebrews 11:11 "My Own Miracle from God"

"By faith Abraham, even though he was past age - - and Sarah herself was barren - - was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful who had made the promise."

I love God's promises. I think we all do. And, according to this verse, Abraham and Sarah really loved His promises. It reassured them. It encouraged them. It built their faith. And, what is most exciting for me, God's promise to them worked miracles.

Abraham was old, past the age when men fathered children. Sarah was "barren" and had also reached the age when women no longer considered childbirth. In other words, it should have been impossible for such a couple to bear a child.

But, God promised them a family. In fact, God promised them that they would be the father and mother of a great nation. They were to be the start of a nation, chosen by God, who would bless the people of the earth. Their descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. That's quite a promise. All this, to an old, childless couple.

But, when God speaks, and God wills, don't worry about the odds. They're already beaten.

And this promise to Abraham and Sarah, was also their life calling. God chose them, God called them and God worked miracles to enable them to fulfill that calling.

I often think so many things are impossible for me. I spend a lot of time wishing. I wish for miracles, and for that calling from God that will change the world, or at least my corner of the world.

I keep forgetting that, if God calls me to serve Him, miracles will follow. It may not be the Red Sea parting, or I may not walk on water. But miracles, those unexpected gifts and inexplicable circumstances that could only come from Divine Intervention, will follow.

Those miracles will help me serve Him in ways I never thought possible. Miracles will make a way for things to happen that never could have, if left to my own power. Miracles are those "coincidences" or "lucky breaks" that I didn't see coming. Miracles enable me, like Abraham, to become who God intended me to be.

So, if you're like me, and sometimes feel like an old, useless person, remember that a great nation (or a great ministry, a great idea, a great act of love) may come from you anyway. All you have to do is listen to God's promise and calling. You can beat the odds. God will see to it.